Not long ago, the staff of WTNH honored me with the title of “Lifestyle Guru”. As the host of my own lifestyle show and a regular contributor to the Good Morning Connecticut weekend Show, I don’t take the title or the responsibility that goes with it lightly. It means I have to deliver! That said, I’m always looking for new ways to improve and enjoy my home, my garden and my life.

I created the following list after contemplating the many little (and not so little) things that make life exciting and fun. Mar’s “must haves” for 2006 are the top four items (out of many) that I consider to be the best and have been given the “Mar” seal of approval. I know it may sound trite, but these items rock my world so to speak, and I simply cannot imagine life without them. I love the quality and workmanship of these items and you will too.


Le Creuset
Good cooks have long known about Le Creuset but as a novice cook, I only recently discovered how fabulous they are. Now I cannot imagine cooking without them. Early in 2006 I discovered a covered casserole tucked away on a shelf in my kitchen. As I started to use it, I discovered how truly wonderful it is to cook with. Today my collection is quite large and I use it almost exclusively.

Le Creuset is the best premium stoneware one can buy. Cast iron is known for its unsurpassed heat retention and is perfect for long, slow, low heat cooking. The hard-wearing smooth finish gives excellent heat diffusion and is very easy to clean by simply washing in soapy water or tossing in the dishwater. The finish also makes each piece suitable for all heat sources and all glass-topped stovetops, such as ceramic, halogen and induction.

Each piece is individually made and finished by hand and comes in a range of vibrant colors. I love the “Mar” green. It matches my signature color! Le Creuset fills a gap in the bakeware market and meets the high standards of today’s everyday cook. Yes, believe it or not, even for me. I particularly love that this stoneware can go from the freezer or refrigerator straight to the oven, and then to the table. It’s that beautiful!

One should not miss the pleasure of owning Le Creuset. It’s top notch in my book and I suggest you start your collection sooner rather than later. With care, your Le Creuset cookware will last a lifetime and so well worth the investment.

To find a local retailer near you log onto their web site: www.lecreuset.com


Thymes Products
My introduction to Thymes products came through a friend at the office. Christina would bring her own supply to share with the staff. From the moment I experienced the Thymes Lavender Bergamot Hand Wash with its matching Lavender Bergamot Hand Lotion, I was hooked. Perfect for busy hands like mine that can be on a desk one minute and digging in the garden the next. It quickly tackles dirt and germs without drying out your skin. It makes your hands feel as if they’ve been given a second chance.

Thymes products contain “all natural” ingredients with fragrances that are created from a unique formula blended down to every last handmade detail. In business since 1982, Thymes products are wonderful to own, to use and to share. They’re the perfect gift and come individually hand-wrapped with Japanese paper and tied with ribbons. You have to love that!

Life is better when you have more Thymes.

For more information or to learn more about these amazing products, log onto their web site: www.thymes.com


The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
This book touches my heart each and every time I read it. Not just a children’s book, this is a powerful and inspirational story about a boy and a tree. So much so, that this year I wrote an article called “The Giving of Trees”. I have cherished this book from the moment I read it, and I continue to find new meaning in the simple lessons it teaches. This tender story, while touched with sadness, is aglow with consolation. Trees, it teaches us, not only provide the wood we need to build our homes, shade us on a hot summer days, but show us the gift of giving love, and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to return that love.

Buy one today! Heck, buy two or three and give them to a friend, a parent or a child. For less than $20, this is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a quick read for all ages, making it worthy as one of this year Mar’s “must haves”.


Vineyard Vines
Vineyard Vines captures my “must have” list for 2006.

Created on Martha’s Vineyard in 1998, the passion of two brothers proves that it pays to do what you love and believe in. Leaving their corporate jobs in New York City and pursuing the American Dream, these two have been having the time of their lives ever since. With an $8,000 credit card loan and little experience, they set out to make ties inspired by boats, fishing and the good life. Apparently dreams do come true when hard work and passion lead the way.

Over the years they have expanded beyond the shores of the Vineyard reaching over 600 retail outlets throughout the country and the collection now includes belts and bags.

Being a tie nut, I was drawn to this company for their clever designs and creative alternatives to the boring everyday tie. The perfect gift, ties add a splash of color to any wardrobe. Men, women and children will be taken by the colorful assortment of belts and bags to choose from. It’s just plain fun owning and wearing something from the Vineyard Vines collection. Once you experience the fun, you’ll want everyone in your life to have a little piece of the Vineyard.

For more information, to find a store near you, or to see other customers who agree with me on these “must have” accessories, log onto their website: www.vineyardvines.com


And there you have it; my 2006 “must haves”. Life is good when you discover and live with the best. I’ve enjoyed the process and hope that you too, will discover and enjoy these “must haves” and share them with others.

And there you have it.